were never implemented, so one of this committee’s most critical thoughts relates to the importance of implementation. A sampling of key findings and recommendations from previous studies follows:

  • Government Accountability Office (GAO) 2,3

    • Separate technology development from systems acquisition. Commit to a program only if the technology is sufficiently mature. Set the minimum Technology Readiness Level (TRL).

    • Stabilize the requirements early.

    • Employ systems engineering techniques before committing to product development.

    • Employ evolutionary approaches that pursue incremental increases in capability.

    • Address shortfalls in science, engineering, and program management staff.

  • National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA)4

    • Increase SE awareness and recognize SE authority in the program formulation and decision process.

    • Incentivize career SE positions within the government.

  • Defense Science Board (DSB)5

    • Overhaul the requirements process.

    • Stabilize acquisition tours.

    • Establish a robust SE capability.

  • Defense Acquisition Performance Assessment (DAPA)6

    • Strategic technology exploitation is a key U.S. advantage. Opportunities need to be identified early.

    • The U.S. economic and security environments have changed—for example, there are fewer prime contractors, smaller production runs, reduced plant capacity, fewer programs, and unpredictable threats.

    • The acquisition system must deal with instability of external funding.


Government Accountability Office (GAO), 2003, Defense Acquisitions: Improvements Needed in Space Systems Acquisition Management Policy, September. Available at http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d031073.pdf. Last accessed April 2, 2007.


GAO, 2005, Space Acquisitions: Stronger Development Practices and Investment Planning Needed to Address Continuing Problems, July. Available at http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d05891t.pdf. Last accessed April 2, 2007.


National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) Systems Engineering Division, 2003, Task Report: Top Five Systems Engineering Issues in Defense Industry, January, Arlington, Va.: NDIA.


Defense Science Board/Air Force Scientific Advisory Board Joint Task Force, 2003, Acquisition of National Security Space Programs, May, Washington, D.C.: OUSD (AT&L).


Ronald Kadish, Gerald Abbott, Frank Cappuccio, Richard Hawley, Paul Kern, and Donald Kozlowski, 2006, Defense Acquisition Performance Assessment. Available at http://www.acq.osd.mil/dapaproject/documents/DAPA-Report-web/DAPA-Report-web-feb21.pdf. Last accessed on April 2, 2007.

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